Religious belief prevents animal adoption


Religious belief prevents animal adoption
Originally published August 08, 2009

By Patti S. Bord
News-Post Staff

Religious beliefs and public policy are keeping at least one of the many cats at the Frederick County Animal Control Center from finding a home.

Tammy Rippeon, of Braddock Heights, said she went with her 20-year-old son, Jonathan, who goes by Jonny, to the shelter to get a cat and found one for him, and maybe one for herself. The requirements for adoption included three pages of paperwork, an interview and an agreement that the family would have an identification microchip placed in the cat for a $15 fee.

"I've never seen such a long process to adopt an animal," Tammy Rippeon said.

The deal-breaker was the microchip, used by Animal Control officers in the field and shelter staff members to identify pet ownership and residence quickly.

"It's against our belief to have it microchipped," Tammy Rippeon said. "We're Christians, and it's a sign of the mark of the beast. ... It's the signs of the future to come."

The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. At the shelter, a veterinary technician inserts the microchip beneath the skin in the neck-shoulder area, using a device like a large syringe. The hole closes up immediately, and the microchip doesn't move around, said technician Pam Meeker. The process takes a few moments. The microchip data are registered by the shelter, which updates the information when the pet is adopted or reclaimed by an owner.

Microchipping all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens that come into the shelter has been policy, approved by the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners, since Jan. 17, 2006, said Harold Domer, director of Frederick County Animal Control. While it may seem inflexible, the policy was enacted in the interest of animal safety.

"The benefits to the lifetime of the animal outweigh the concerns of microchipping," Domer said. "We're a shelter that wants to assure the safety and welfare of animals."

The practice received high praise in an assessment of the shelter by Cornell University in September 2008. The Cornell report cited the microchipping and scanning for microchips as one of the shelter's strong points.

Domer said that 52 percent of animals that come to the shelter are strays, with no identification. The shelter holds animals for five days before making them available for adoption, to give owners some time to claim their pets.

More cats come to the shelter than any other animal group. In fiscal 2009, the shelter received 6,146 animals: 2,161 cats, 1,464 kittens; 1,731 dogs, 190 puppies. Dogs and puppies tend to find homes quickly enough to leave kennel space available, Domer said, but not so with cats and kittens. Shelter overpopulation is one factor considered for euthanasia.

"Cats and kittens are euthanized because of population," Domer said. "Shelter population space is very important."

May through October is an especially busy time for cat population growth, he said.

A microchip can instantly identify an owner, and reduce the animal's stay at the shelter.

"We know statistically that 95 percent of animals that have identification are returned to owners," Domer said.

Few cats come in with collars or any external identification, he said.

Tammy Rippeon was told the microchip was a safeguard in the event the cat was lost, but she finds that unnecessary based on 20 years of animal ownership and previous adoptions.

"We've never lost an animal yet," she said. "It's not like we're losing animals. ... I'll give them the $15" if that would satisfy them, she said.

"They're always pressing the issue that they want these animals to get a good home," said Jonny Rippeon. "If it wasn't for my religious belief, I would have gotten a cat. ... I feel it's discrimination."

Domer said his staff members are doing all they can to make sure animals find homes and return home when lost.

"None of us are interested in stopping any adoption," Domer said.

Even in the best homes with animals, Domer said, "They get loose. Nobody's perfect; things happen, and they happen quickly."

Dogs and cats are already part of the Rippeon family, and the plan was for Jonny to keep the cat as an indoor pet in his basement apartment.

A previous cat that never went outside lived to be 18 in Jonny's care, and, when the cat's health failed, Tammy Rippeon said, "My son did everything he could to save that cat's life."

"I've had pets since I was a young child," Jonny Rippeon said. He said his home could be inspected and his veterinarian could answer questions about the pets' care.

"I don't want to have the mark of the beast on my pet," said Jonny.

It was more than 15 years ago that the family last adopted an animal, Tammy Rippeon said. "Back then you didn't have to go through all this."


Ah, a local crazy news story.

So much for love and compassion. That poor kitty may end up being put down if no one adopts it. Ah, but that's OK I guess, since it doesn't have a soul or anything...

And I can't help but wonder how a micro-chip is 'the mark of the beast'. Come to think of it, a cat is a 'beast' on their terms, so I guess it fits. :p While they are somehow finding this against their beliefs, I donate to the ASPCA and my family actually took in 3 stray (which we found out was actually 6). And then to claim discrimination! That's absurd! The rules are the rules. It's not like they are requiring adopters to be heterosexual white males that are Yankee's fans. Yes, the Christians are being oppressed again... *rolls eyes*

Views: 32

Comment by Gaytor on August 8, 2009 at 8:15pm
If his first cat lived to be 18, and he still lives at home, I'm guessing there are other imbalances in that house as well. Oh wait, he has an "apartment" in the house. I wonder if they pay taxes on his rent as income or have told the city about this apartment for zoning reasons. If I were the Director of the Shelter I'd return the favor of needless grief with a few phone calls about this issue.
Comment by Aric on August 8, 2009 at 11:46pm
Oh yes, let us not forget that all too often forgotten commandment, "Thou shall not embed microchips in thy animals."
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 9, 2009 at 5:41am
Meh. Let them live a lonely, animal-companion-less life until their son grows up, realizes how fucking scary his parents were, and joins the real world.
I've never had hepatitis, but I got a vaccine against it. Just because you haven't lost a cat yet doesn't mean it won't happen in the future.
If they were to actually read the Bible, they'd know that it is a mark placed on the forehead or right hand, not the scruff of the neck in your kitten. Oh yeah, it only effects the immortal soul of the person wearing it.. not those that associate with him/her/it. The Bible is pretty clear on this, so the victimization happened against their set of crazy, not their set of religion.. unless of course someone did a mail-away theology degree and founded a church against micro-chipping.....which I sorta don't doubt.
Comment by CJoe on August 9, 2009 at 1:57pm
Hahaha! This is funny. And it's funny because I used to believe it. *hangs head in shame* However, even then, I would not have gone so far as to say I was being discriminated against. I would realize it was my belief preventing me (or rather, SAVING me) from adopting an animal bearing the Mark of the Beast. I might think the people in the shelter were, sadly, deceived into thinking the chips were advantageous, but... the thing is, in order to believe all that nonsense about the Second Coming, you're supposed to be prepared for a certain amount of discrimination and persecution. It comes with the territory; it's a Sign of the Times. *snickers* So, these people should be better minions of Jesus and take the abuse, knowing they'll be rewarded in Heaven for not adopting a kitten.

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 9, 2009 at 2:24pm
Tell me more, CC-
HOW is microchipping rationalized as the mark?
Please, please explain this 'logic' as it was explained to you.
C'mon.. tell me all you know about this lore.....?

~grabs bucket of popcorn and waits in wide-eyed anticipation.~
Comment by CJoe on August 9, 2009 at 4:26pm

Well, you seem to be fairly familiar with the book of Revelations. For people not-so familiar, I shall include the passages:

Revelations 13: 16&17 says,
"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

Also, Rev 14: 9-12 states,
"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus."

It's clear that receiving this "mark" is pretty much a death sentence, and nothing better resembles the descriptions of this mark than implantable chips. Christians predict that, at some point in the near future, we won't even be able to do business without these little buggers under our skin. In the UK, tests have been done on people and they used the chip for making transactions. Other chips identify a person's medical history when scanned.

Google "Digital Angel" and follow this link for at least one article:

Now, I honestly don't see how these people think they should be worried if their pet gets "the mark", but... for a highly superstitious people, there's nothing more horrifying than this little chip (which leaves a scar/mark on the user). But, if you go back in history, you see there are other "marks" such as the Star of David that Jews had to wear in order to do business.

Maybe this doesn't clear things up. The fact is, Christians take a lot of liberty in translating the cryptic messages of Revelations. They're scared. Ya know? They're control by fear; even dancing can be scary!
Comment by Reggie on August 9, 2009 at 11:49pm
These folks have the full effect going. There's their persecution complex which usually manifests itself when special privilege is denied them. Then there is paranoia over anything that may resemble something evil from their Bible, in this case the mark of the beast on a cat. I wonder how they feel about Social Security Numbers? Lastly, they fail to see the bigger picture of saving the lives of these animals because their strange and nonsensical superstition takes precedence over everything. Did I miss anything?
Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on August 10, 2009 at 4:43am
Still... FOREHEAD.... RIGHT HAND.....
How does this equal scruff-of-neck-on-cat!

So where are the human microchips going to be going? I'm pretty sure marketing folks are going to catch on to this 'mark of the beast' campaign pretty fast and NOT put it on the forehead (hahahahahhahahahahahaha) or right hand. (Also probably a bad idea for medical complications or removal.)
Shoulder blade, hip, or inside your arm like the birth-control implant is my guess.

And no.. by the time it's ready for humans, it won't leave a scar.
Comment by CJoe on August 13, 2009 at 5:51pm
I don't know if anyone is still following this blog, but I just had to add... they're already putting them in people, and they are putting it on their wrists sometimes. Annnd... it leaves a little mark.

Yo... not saying it's the "MARK". I'm sure people have at least clicked on the links I left in the forum under "Implantable Microchips". They don't seem to have a lot of publicity, but they've been around since at LEAST 2004.

I have no idea how it has anything to do with pets...


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